It appears that a major battle between the US 3rd Infantry Division and the Medina Division of the Iraqi Republican Guard may be shaping up as the 3rd Division heads east toward Baghdad from An Najaf. The Medina fought hard against the US VII Corps in 1991. It is an armored division, and is listed as recently based in Al Suwayrah south of Baghdad. If they meet in the open, the Medina will quickly become scrap metal. However, the area between the Euphrates and Baghdad is more built-up and, although the 3rd will certainly win, the fight will probably be fierce. The more fighting against Republican Guards outside Baghdad, the better.
Update 12:49 24 Mar 2003
Reports of air attacks agains Medina Division units near Karbala, north of An Najaf.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said a crucial battle was imminent on the outskirts of Baghdad between U.S.-led forces and Saddam’s elite troops.
“As we speak, they are about 60 miles south of Baghdad, near Karbala,” he said. “It is a little way from there that they will encounter the Medina Division of the Republican Guard,” Blair said. “This will be a crucial moment.”